For Christmas we decided to keep things simple and not to spend much money (if any at all). I wanted to do something special for Dustin that was creative and extra romantic (first Christmas and all that) so I decided to gift him with my time. Pre-planning a series of relatively inexpensive dates that we would go on once a month for the whole year!!
That was the easy part, the hard part was then finding 12 dates that were local, interesting for us, fun, AND inexpensive. So far I think the most we’ve spent on a date was about $25 so we are on a good roll. The fun thing is you can either pre-pay for the dates or slip the money into each envelope as you have it.
We choose to take it out of our fun money just because that’s what works best for us! Search Groupon, local tourism sites, Pinterest, etc for what’s in your area. I liked to choose a mix of things we already enjoy doing, things I really want us to try together, and new adventures that could either be a total disaster or be a great new hobby.
Each date then goes in an envelope, I had fun coloring the front of mine and seeing if he could figure out what the date was from the picture. He was pretty good at guessing the pictures which is impressive since my artistic skills are terrible.
I wrote a short note with each date describing it and giving the specifics (if there were some). And then at the beginning of each month we pull out the envelope for that month and discover what fun thing we will be doing. If you’re terribly clever make the note cheesy and fun, tying it in to whatever theme date you’re going on. If not, just give your special someone a sweet note telling them why you love them, and what you’ll be doing together!
If you need some ideas here is 1 year worth of dates, from me to you, enjoy!
January- Ice Theme
Ice skating. Ice Sculpture Competition. Frozen. Snowmen. Let your imagination run wild with this idea. For us, we were lucky to be able to see Frozen still in theaters, hit up the local ice sculpture competition, and go ice skating all in one day. The movie was an unplanned addition after we got soaked in the rain at the ice sculpture competition.
Ice skating is one of our absolute favorite date nights now! Strapping on skates and bumbling around together, extra excuses to hold hands (like we need any) and watching the ADORABLE little kids learning to skate. This is one we have added to our go-to date night ideas.
February- Range Date
For February we actually did our first range date! Because February means Valentine’s Day and that means Cupid 😉 so of course we had to take aim this month. I think my favorite part of these whole present was thinking of different ways to come up with my themes.
This was thanks to an awesome local Groupon deal, which is a great way to find options to fill in your monthly date envelopes. We had a chance to rent a couple of guns, shoot for an hour, and check out all that our range has to offer.
If guns aren’t your thing, check out local archery ranges, paint ball courses, or laser tag! Just get out there and have fun, make a competition of it, and see who has the best aim!
March- Movie Night
This month is all about the Oscars, awards season has wrapped up so now it’s time to check out the best of the best. We wanted to go to the theater, since that hadn’t been a planned part of January’s date. But because the movie we wanted to see in theaters, Veronica Mars, wasn’t released to a theater in our area we decided to curl up at home instead.
We created a whole bit pile of blankets and pillows, popped a bit thing of popcorn, and binged on some of our favorite superhero movies. Whether you go to a theater or stay home have fun picking out your favorites! Maybe pick a theme (like we did with superheros) or pick the movie you watched on your first date. If you are wanting to hit the theater but don’t want to spend as much money check out a matinee or second run theater!
(I seem to have lost the original envelope for the date, which is disappointing since this was the easiest picture. My Lego’s actually looked like Lego’s).
We love Lego’s in our house! We buy them ‘for our god-daughters’ but in reality we love to play with them too. April’s date was a fun choice because our local museum had a huge Lego exhibit that month. And even though my picture was spot on, Dustin still had no idea what this date would entail!
We had a great time checking out all the cool things at the muesum, and oohing over the cool things people had built from Lego’s. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a Lego exhibit, try finding other cool ways to incorporate Lego’s into date night. Watch the Lego Movie, bring out your inner child and go buy each other a fun Lego set. Make some cool Lego related recipes.
May- In the Kitchen
We love good food in our house! So for this date night I wanted to give us a chance to try some new recipes together. Because it’s way more fun to cook somewhere if you don’t have to do the clean up!! Again, check Groupon or Amazon Local (where I found ours) to see who does cooking classes in your area. Sometimes you can even find cool options at the local community center.
Spice things up with an ethnic cuisine, or stay local and find a farm to table place. Or, if cooking really isn’t your thing go for fondue or a restaurant that cooks right in front of you!
June- Horseback Riding
This is one of those dates that I had no idea how it would go over with Dustin. Really, it was more for me! I haven’t been horseback riding since high school and really wanted to go again. Luckily, Dustin loves riding and it’s been just about as long for him too!
If horses aren’t your thing try and find some other outdoorsy activity you’d both like! June is a perfect time for getting outside since it isn’t too hot yet and the summer tourist season hasn’t quite hit. That means you can sometimes still find off-season deals and specials!
July- The Zoo
ZOO Date! This was one of my favorite ones to plan. We’re really lucky to have a fantastic zoo nearby. It’s not too big that you’re exhausted but still has a good amount to see and do. While we were a bit remiss and had to skip a few dates because of scheduling conflicts, we actually managed to get this date in!
The best part for me was getting to pet the goats. But just walking around with Dustin and being there early enough that it wasn’t busy was great we had a really good time. It’s so much fun to enjoy time together, to get to see all the animals, and to enjoy some sunshine. If you don’t have a zoo in your area look for a farm, petting zoo, or nature preserve where you can get out and see some wildlife.
PaddleBoarding is a big deal around here. Maybe it’s because we can’t really surf on the Great Lakes, or because we have so many small lakes around too, but paddle boarding has become very popular. For our August date I really wanted to get out and try something neither of us had done yet. And I really wanted it to be something that was physical.
It’s great to test your limits, raise those endorphins, and make healthy choices with your significant other. Some other cool ideas you could try would be rock climbing, a unique fitness class, or running a 5k together. Just get out there and get your sweat on with your sweetie!
Similar to the paddle boarding of August I wanted this date to be another healthy type option. Geocaching is something I learned about when I worked for Girl Scouts and always thought it sounded like fun. While I was researching date ideas in our area I found a lot of information on geocaching through our local parks department.
Geocaching is where you use GPS to find a certain location on a trail. Usually there will be a box at the location where people will leave a little trinket and you get to take it if you leave something in it’s place. Some places also call it letter boxing, because they’ll leave notes instead of trinkets.
ArtPrize is a really cool local art festival that takes place all over Grand Rapids. The art is installed at local restaurants, bars, museums, and even out on the sidewalks! People then get to vote for their favorite pieces via text and the winners receive a big cash prize. There is also a juried competition, but really everyone’s favorite part is the popular vote.
If you’re a midwest local you should definitely come check it out, if not, recreate your own art related date night by checking out a local art gallery or museum, be the critics and pick your favorite pieces! Or try making your own art!
November- Fancy Night Out
This is another one where Dustin was on the nose with his guess! How often do you take the time to get all dressed up and try and wow each other? Take the time for this date night to pick out your best outfit, get all fancy, and take the time to impress each other again. Whether you go to a fancy restaurant, go out dancing, or just go to your favorite restaurant you can have a special night. Pull out all the stops and have fun playing dress up!
December- Overnight Date
For December I really wanted us to have a chance to get away, even for a night, before the craziness of the holiday season left us exhausted. Find a local B&B, or even go of the local Holiday Inn, just get away for the night and unplug. Order take out, or room service, climb under the covers and stay up all night talking.
There is something about getting away from your house, even if you don’t leave town, that is really special. You get to forget about the laundry, the dishes, the never ending to-do list and just enjoy each other again, remember why you love each other, and let your spouse thank you for such an awesome year of dates!
The best part about this present is the fun times we get to share together throughout the year. I had a great time researching ideas and figuring out what cool, inexpensive things there were to do locally. And then figuring out a picture for each month!! Dustin was super impressed and now I’ve definitely put myself in a position where it will be hard to top this year!
Guess I’ll just have to come up with 12 more dates! Another great benefit is the fact that we know each month we will have a special date or activity to do together. This is great for keeping us from getting into a rut, and for those of you who have been together a longer time it’s a great way to try new things and share new adventures with your partner!
So help me out, what are some fun date-night ideas you and your partner like to do?
For some more of our ideas check out our favorite At Home Date Night, or our top 50 Date Night Ideas. I can’t stress enough how important date night is to keeping your relationship happy and healthy. It’s important to remember who you are as a couple, and to find new things together that you enjoy!